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AIBU: should live-in be picking from fridge?

(103 Posts)
tsunami Mon 12-Sep-11 14:58:31

AIBU - I have a nice live-in postgrad student, recently moved in to live under my roof in exchange for 16 hours of after-school supper & homework duty. The deal I made was that this student would have the room in exchange for the 16 hours, and on those days would then get to eat with the kids. But now he's eating breakfast in the kitchen, helping himself to coffee and now to lunch. He did ask if it was 'OK to help [him]self from the fridge' and I said h'm, within reason - not the big meal stuff. But now I feel I'm feeding him - even though he goes out to a bar work job in the evenings and earns his pocket money.
He's a poor student etc, and I don't pay him any cash but he gets his bed, hot water, heating, roof over head, uses our internet etc etc. I feel I'm being taken advantage of as I'm not his mum.
Perspective? Should I just get over it, as a few extra pints of milk, a bit of cereal, bread and cheese etc aren't going to kill me?

nannyl Mon 12-Sep-11 15:31:07

so he is kind of like an aupair? (except he works just a few hours less than average and doesnt get paid at all for his work shock)

it is completely normal for au-pairs (or live in nannies / mothers helps etc etc) to eat from your fridge.... 3 meals a day and snacks etc all the time.

I suggest you get over it (unless you made it quite clear when he applied that meals were not included)

To put it in perspective as a live OUT nanny, I ate all 3 meals + snacks from my bosses fridge (on working days).... and i didnt even live there

mousymouse Mon 12-Sep-11 15:33:29

so you basically have someone working below minimum wage...

ChitChattingWithKids Mon 12-Sep-11 15:36:11

Good heavens, this sounds like an au pair position with slightly less hours, and they usually get paid £60 - £70 a week PLUS all their food!!!

I really think you're being stingy here. You could limit WHAT he snacks on/makes meals from to make sure he doesn't just graze on very expensive food, or dedicate a shelf for them, but again you would normally be stocking that shelf.

I suggest that you SERIOUSLY get over it because you would not likely get this deal with anyone else!!!!

MogandMe Mon 12-Sep-11 16:41:34

God I hope my boss doesn't complain that I'm picking from the fridge - I've just had a handful of grapes, some cocktail sausages and a chocolate biscuit!! Ooops (missed lunch btw!)

I often do this - but am aware of what bits I can pick at and leave things that I would think off limits although tbh that would only be my bosses favourite chocolate, the bars of coke and the alcohol grin

MrMan Mon 12-Sep-11 16:49:17

YABU to expect that a room alone is enough compensation for 16 hours of work a week. However it makes you feel better, you can give him say £40 a week and say that he should buy his own food instead of taking yours.

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 16:54:11

Brilliant childcare solution. 16h unpaid with big responsibility, I'm thinking relax about the fridge since it's a great deal for both of you, esp if the kids like him. Maybe get in his favourite juice, some nicer bread and cheese, and a fruit bowl. Life without him would be a lot more difficult. What does he get when he eats with the kids?

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 16:55:56

It's bonded labour really, isn't it? I can see how it works though.

Migsy1 Mon 12-Sep-11 18:16:45

I think your arrangement is quite bizarre but you have both agreed to it and I imagine he is free to go. If you had an au pair you would have to pay for all food and lodgings as well as about £70 per week pocket money. In return you would get 25 hours duties. Sounds like you have a good deal to me. I think you should let him eat from the fridge and perhaps tell him if certain items cannot be eaten, for example, if they are needed for a specific meal etc.

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 18:45:50

Also some decent ground coffee, Earl Grey tea, soup, plated meals in case he's busy when working, and his favourite chocolate biscuits.

nannyl Mon 12-Sep-11 19:05:33

not sure if you are being sarcastic eicospentaenoic? but my bosses always got in earl (& lady) grey tea for me, also normally some extra special biscuits, and often bagels too, as they knew i loved them for my breakfast.
and most weeks at some point i was left a delicous home cooked meal (for me and the children, although i had to heat it and put it on a plate myself wink), where as at other points during the week, id leave some delcious home-made by me meals for my bosses to eat for their tea too.

In fact a few of my great nanny friends bosses also got in my tea especially for my visits... (and it had to be williamson and magnor OR twinings!) for me to drink when i visited.

and as i said above i didnt even live there grin

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 19:11:52

Nannyl, I'm really not being sarcastic, and I know it's important to look after people who are busting a gut for you. I've been both parties, still am. This is what I do for babysitters and petsitters/housesitters I pay and I am hugely grateful for the trust I can place in them because of their integrity. Peace of mind re DCs is a wonderful thing. And I pay a decent wage. And if I look after someone's DCs for free as a favour, I expect them to turn up with choc bics and posh fruit at least.

ThePrisonerOfAzkaban Mon 12-Sep-11 19:31:27

I can see how this works

Instead of a wage he gets a room, he is only working 16 hours, so it would balance out.

I used to do this sort agreement but with horses. It does work really well but if were you I'd have a chat and say about the food. I'd buy him some breakfast-cereal and say that bread, milk,butter and cheese are a free for all and so is his tea with the kids. But main meals no. Give him his own cup broad and every now and then when you get buy 1 get one free add the free one to his cupboard.

It does work, just need to be fair

Blondeshavemorefun Mon 12-Sep-11 19:40:46

so this student looks after your children, you dont pay him ANYTHING but get a roof over his head and you piss and moan he helps his self to a few basics from your fridge hmm

poor bloke - if you actually paid an au pair it would cost you maybe £250/300 a month - sure he doesnt eat that amount of food

Oggy Mon 12-Sep-11 19:51:17

I'm more shocked that OP seems to have a problem with him eating his breakfast in the kitchen. Is he meant to lock himself away in his bedroom with his breakfast and at other times of day when he's not working or out?

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 19:53:02

Blondie's right. If he dumps you Tsunami, can I have 'im? He'll get fed at my house. (How much does it cost to put another baked potato in the oven or a bit of extra rice?)

unfitmother Mon 12-Sep-11 19:53:55

Sixteen hours childcare with no money changing hands?
Give me his number, I'll feed him!

eicosapentaenoic Mon 12-Sep-11 19:55:16

Unfit... ha ha grin

Maisiethemorningsidecat Mon 12-Sep-11 19:59:31

I can see how this works - basically he gets a free room in her house and she gets 16 hours a week childcare. If she was paying an au pair it would cost £250-£300, and if he was paying for a room in a rented flat it would cost him the same - so it evens itself out.

I'd do what ThePrisoner says - have a chat about what constitutes a snack and what the main meal is, but if this offer had been put to me in my student days I'd have jumped at the chance (and so would my paying parents!) Seems perfectly reasonable.

colditz Mon 12-Sep-11 20:01:01

As you're treating him like an au pair, and not even paying him, I would NOT begrudge some food from the fridge.

MogandMe Mon 12-Sep-11 20:14:03

Agree Oggy - Where is he supposed to eat!

letmehelp Mon 12-Sep-11 20:43:39

Masie, but the Au Pair would be getting bed and board on top of the £250-£300. I agree it sounds like a decent arrangement all round though and he was obviously happy with it.

How much is the room worht to him? Round here it's about £40pw, so you're paying him £2.50 per hour!!

Get all his favourite food in and make sure he has generous use of all the facilities

RitaMorgan Mon 12-Sep-11 20:47:35

An au pair would get bed, board and £70 a week for 25 hours work.

This student gets a room, no food for 16 hours work.

I think you should be providing meals too.

Maisiethemorningsidecat Mon 12-Sep-11 20:49:37

I know what you meant Letme, but wouldn't an au pair be expected to do a heck of a lot more than after school, supper and homework for 16 hours a week? Round here, you definitely wouldn't get a room in a flat for £160/month, so I guess it depends on where you are as to whether it evens out.

Maisiethemorningsidecat Mon 12-Sep-11 20:56:52

Rita - he does get food, he eats with the kids on the days he's looking after them and it was agreed that he can help himself to stuff from the fridge (just not main meals).

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